Chloe PalominoSalute the Golden Age 
Alex EndumAlex Endum 

Invisible Archives • 2022
Invisible Archives • 2022

Chloe Palomino’s Salute the Golden Age and Alex Endum’s self-titled album have much in common while maintaining a distinct aura of their own. 

Every so often while scrolling through Bandcamp, I find an intriguing and enigmatic record that catches my attention and prompts me to put my investigative skills to work (i.e. sending a message through Bandcamp’s Contact link and crossing my fingers someone on the other end is going to reply). Until recently, when I stumbled upon Chloe Palomino’s Salute the Golden Age and Alex Endum’s self-titled release, these discoveries have always been singular affairs, but the circumstances around these late-2022 releases have spurred me to take both albums on in one review.

Chloe Palomino is Victoria-based artist Deirdre Smith (a one-time member of PEI band Strawberry and Arts & Crafts alumni Valley of The Giants). Smith and her partner Scott Garratt, who records using the alias Alex Endum, release their home recordings under the Invisible Archives banner on Bandcamp. Salute the Golden Age and Alex Endum, released on the same day in early December,  collect some of Smith and Garratt’s favourite tunes written and recorded in 2022. As they are the sole musicians on both albums, Chloe Palomino and Alex Endum have much in common while maintaining an aura of their own. 

Swinging from electro-pop to guitar-heavy alt-rock, Chole Palomino cranks out delectable hook-heavy melodies that melt on contact like chocolate on your tongue. Maybe because it’s last on Salute the Golden Age’s tracklisting, “Always on the Line” lingers long after its 1:44 is up. Its brevity and punch remind me of Elastica, while its musicality and Smith’s breathy drawl evoke memories of the Luyas. That’s a pairing that, on paper, seems to be at odds but works wonderfully in practice. “You Will Be Here (In My Life)” sparkles with an urgent, reverberating piano riff, as does the poppy number “The Boys Set Sail.”

Alex Endum is equally as brief as Salute the Golden Age but somewhat more relaxed. Garratt’s delivery, particularly on album opener “High Street Drifter,” sits low in the mix and, like Smith’s vocals, works to add texture to his unrushed arrangements. It wouldn’t shock me to find out he’s a Dean Wareham acolyte, as suggested by the dreamy, iridescent guitar work on “I Wander Anywhere.” The chill factor hits its peak on “Law School Karma,” whose atmosphere is underlined by a subtle-yet-grooving bassline reminiscent of bands like TOPS.

Though inextricably linked, Chloe Palomino’s Salute the Golden Age and Alex Endum’s self-titled album are not a package deal (despite the fact I’m reviewing them jointly). I’m sure some will prefer the snappy synth-pop of Chloe Palomino over the gauzy slowcore of Alex Endum and vice versa. Still, like so many replies to those insidious “either/or” tweets suggest, life is much better when you don’t have to choose one over the other. That said, I hope Garratt and Smith choose to make their Invisible Archives a little more visible in the coming months by not waiting until the end of 2023 to release the next batch of tunes.

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